It took me 24 hours to fly from Guam to New York, but I figured out how to make the 3-leg trip more bearable

Image
Three flights, 24 hours, and 9,000 miles — here’s how I endured it. Joey Hadden/Business Insider
  • Long-distanceflights can feel endless sometimes, especially after a vacation or when you’re crammed in coach and travelling solo.
  • I travelled with United Airlines from Guam to New York with stops in Honolulu and Houston. Including layovers, my total travel time was about 24 hours.
  • I figured out how to make this trek more bearable by not relying on the airline to feed me, entertain me, or make me feel comfortable. I brought my own food, entertainment, and a comfy neck pillow.
  • I also used the extra time during my layovers to walk around, making sitting still on a long flight much easier.
  • Here’s how I endured 24 hours of travel.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


I arrived at the Guam International Airport at around 5:45 a.m. for my 7:40 a.m. flight to Honolulu. But I began preparing for my journey the night before.

Image
The official name of Guam’s airport is Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

On my way to Guam, United’s in-flight entertainment sometimes didn’t work for hours at a time. So I prepared for my flight by downloading movies and entire seasons of TV shows on my iPad’s Netflix app …

Image
I downloaded three movies and one season of a TV series. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

… and Amazon Prime. I downloaded a mixture of comedy and drama to ensure I could satisfy my entertainment cravings for the whole trip.

Image
I downloaded three seasons of a TV series and one comedy special. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I arrived at the airport on Guam two hours before my flight. I don’t usually arrive at airports this early, but my uncle who travels to the states from Guam often insisted that I give myself some extra time.

Image
I flew with United Airlines from Guam to New York. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

And I may have needed the additional time if not for my Premier Access ticket.

Image
United Airlines offers a Premier Access ticket. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I dropped an additional $US20 for Premier Access on this leg of the trip, which gives United passengers access to a shorter check-in line and, in some airports, a shorter security line and priority boarding as well.

Image
The Premier Access check-in line was shorter than the economy check-in line. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Source: United


As you can see here, there was hardly a line for United’s Premier Access travellers on this particular January morning.

Image
There was only one person in front of me when I got in line at the Premier Access section of the United check-in area. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I was still glad I got to the airport early because there’s a lot to see at the Guam airport, like this marine life mural painted by Robert Wyland.

Image
The official name of Guam’s airport is Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Exhibits throughout the airport showcase elements of Chamoru culture.

Image
A Chamoru Outrigger Canoe stands behind a sculpture celebrating many cultures in a traditional Chamoru shape called a ‘latte stone.’ Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Having a Premier Access ticket also gave me a chance to spend a final few minutes with some of my Guam-resident family members that met me at the airport to say goodbye.

Image
Five aunts, three uncles, and three cousins showed up at the airport at 6 am to say goodbye. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

There was no Premier Access line at security, but the line was pretty short anyway.

Image
The security line at the Guam International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Once I got to my gate, people were already lined up to board.

Image
My gate at the Guam International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

We had to go through customs as we entered the plane.

Image
Getting ready to board at the Guam International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

The sun was rising as I took one last look at Guam and boarded the plane.

Image
The aircraft that took me from Guam to Honolulu. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

The first leg of my trip was an eight-hour flight from Guam to Honolulu.

Image
Boarding the first plane of my trip. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Although it’s a pretty long flight, travelling from Guam to Hawaii isn’t technically flying internationally, so United Airlines flights won’t provide a free meal. That’s why my auntie brought me Kings — a local favourite on Guam.

Image
King’s is located in Tamuning, Guam. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Source: In Flight Feed


I began my trip by eating breakfast and watching a dramatic TV series. I hoped a heavy meal would put me right to sleep.

Image
Eating fried rice and pancakes for breakfast. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

And I was successful! I turned off the show I was watching and instead put on a familiar favourite to fall asleep to.

Image
Watching Ferris Beuller’s Day Off on my way to Honolulu. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I woke up to Ferris Bueller singing Twist and Shout about an hour later.

Image
I only slept for about an hour on my first flight. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

At this point, I decided it was time for a bathroom break and to stretch my legs. I reluctantly bugged the sleepers to my right so I could get up.

Image
I keep my headphones and iPad in the seat pocket in front of me when I travel. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

First I went to the bathroom, where lotion and face mist were available.

Image
Air travel essentials in the aircraft bathroom. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I left the bathroom feeling refreshed from these products. This was the only leg of my trip that offered these amenities, but I suggest always checking when you’re on a long flight.

Image
The aeroplane bathroom on my first flight. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Next, I went to the large open space by the bathrooms to stretch.

Image
Here, I touched my toes a few times. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I used this cushioned pad to help me stay balanced as I stretched.

Image
I pressed my hands up against this pad to stretch my legs. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

When I got back to my seat, I continued to watch television on my iPad until I noticed the sun was setting.

Image
The Pacific Ocean was visible beneath the clouds. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

At around the same time, Hawaii’s islands came into view. I just sat and enjoyed the view.

Image
We landed on Oahu — Hawaii’s most populated island. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

It got darker as we approached the airport, and I was glad I got to be in the air for the entire sunset.

Image
The Pacific Ocean was visible beneath the clouds. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

When I got to Hawaii, I had to go through customs and then back through security, which took less than an hour.

Image
I had to go back through security before my flight from Honolulu to Houston. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

My entire layover was almost three hours, so I had some time to kill. I decided to spend it on my feet since I was about to sit for hours.

Image
Stores in this airport provided travel essentials like these neck pillows. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I spent some time admiring the Cultural Gardens, which merge Chinese, Japanese, and Hawaiian cultures — three heritages that influence life in Hawaii.

Image
A portion of the airport’s Cultural Gardens. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Source: The Official State of Hawaii


Next, I browsed some of the stores at the airport. A store called From Hawaii with Love has a huge selection of souvenirs that don’t look like generic airport gifts …

Image
A storefront at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

… like this small bag collection, which features a pug that looks just like mine.

Image
My pug is on the left. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

This flower shop sells fresh leis made from Hawaiian flowers.

Image
A flower shop at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

While I was walking around the airport, I began to notice how sweaty I was getting.

Image
Feeling sticky in hot Honolulu. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I always get sweaty when I’m travelling through Hawaii …

Image
Terminal 2 at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

… since parts of the terminals are outdoor covered spaces.

Image
Terminal 2 at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

During the day, you can see the Ko’olau volcanic range from this view.

Image
Terminal 2 at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Source: Google Maps


Since I planned to get sweaty, I brought a fresh T-shirt and undergarments to change into in Hawaii.

Image
I brought extra clothes in my carry-on. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

So when I was done walking around outside, I headed to the women’s bathroom …

Image
Wahine is a word used for woman in Hawaiian. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

… and left feeling fresh.

Image
A women’s bathroom at Terminal 2 at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

My last stop before my gate was this market to pick up a water bottle.

Image
Stopping at Le’ahi Market to get some water. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

At less than $US4, this was the cheapest brand of water in stock.

Image
This Hawaiian volcanic water was surprisingly affordable compared to my other options. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

When I got to my gate, I took a seat by the window.

Image
The plane that took me from Honolulu to Houston. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

When I saw people were already lining up to board the aircraft, I knew I had succeeded in killing time in Hawaii.

Image
Boarding in Honolulu. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

In no rush to get on the plane I was about to spend seven and a half hours on, I let most of the other passengers board before me.

Image
My gate in Honolulu. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

While I was waiting, I stretched my legs one last time.

Image
Touching my toes before boarding the aircraft. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Since we flew through the night, the plane was pitch black for most of the trip. Most people seemed to fall asleep, but I couldn’t.

Image
It was so dark on the plane. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

The lights were only turned on as flight attendants handed out drinks and free snacks, which were Stroopwaffles, Biscoff cookies, or tiny pretzels.

Image
I opted for Stroopwaffles — my favourite free snack offered by United. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

During this flight, I really wanted to get up stretch, but I mistakenly booked another window seat for this viewless flight, and the people sitting next to me seemed to be in deep slumber. So I did some seated yoga poses in my chair.

Image
Performing an eagle pose on the plane. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I knew it would take me less than 24 hours to get bored of watching TV, so I also downloaded issues of the New Yorker on my iPad.

Image
Reading short stories in the New Yorker. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

While I was reading, I noticed the sun began to rise.

Image
The sun was rising during my flight to Houston. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I continued to read fiction after fiction in 2019 issues of the New Yorker while I watched the sunrise.

Image
I enjoyed the sunrise during my flight to Houston. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

When we landed, the sun was up …

Image
The sun was rising during my flight to Houston. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

… and I was in Houston for the final leg of my trip. I had a two-hour layover in Houston.

Image
I landed at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

After taking a long walk around the airport to get my blood flowing, I grabbed a taco and some chips and queso near my gate.

Image
I try to have a taco and queso every time I’m in Texas. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

Then I headed to my gate.

Image
Bush Intercontinental Airport is the largest airport in Houston. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I snagged a seat by the window to take a look at the plane I was about to board.

Image
The plane that took me from Houston to New York. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

At this point, I realised how absolutely exhausted I was from a whole day of travelling. I’ve always dreamed of sleeping all the way through a flight so it feels like you arrived in the blink of an eye.

Image
I was so tired. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

After boarding, I got cosy, closed my eyes, and hoped for the best. I woke up in New York three hours later in what felt like just a few minutes. What a perfect way to end my trip.

Image
Getting sleepy on the way home. Joey Hadden/Business Insider